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Maidstone Borough Council 3

CCTV helps to reduce crime

Last year the CCTV monitoring operation was moved to a control hub in Medway from its Maidstone Town Hall base in a joint working partnership with Medway Council. The monitoring staff from Maidstone moved to Medway and have been key in ensuring the CCTV monitoring success.

Cllr John Wilson, Cabinet Member for Community and Leisure Services, said: “We’re really pleased that the switchover happened so seamlessly.

“Staff are happier in their new working environment and we’re retaining the local knowledge of Maidstone which helps with the monitoring. We’re also seeing evidence that CCTV is doing its job to stamp out crime in the area.”

In Maidstone, arrests have gone up in the town centre as crime has fallen, and the CCTV monitoring system is being praised for being part of that. Overall crime is down 15.6 per cent according to figures by Kent Police but arrests resulting from CCTV intervention increased from 69 in April to 117 in September.

Neighbourhood plans

Boughton Monchelsea, Broomfield and Kingswood, Coxheath, Harrietsham and Lenham parish councils and North Loose residents association are preparing neighbourhood plans for their areas.

Maidstone council declared the parishes as neighbourhood areas following joint consultation exercises with the parish councils.

The draft neighbourhood plans - planning policy documents – will set out policies for the development and the use of land.

The draft plans will be assessed by an independent examiner and, if assessed as sound, will be subject to a referendum when local people will decide whether the plan should be adopted by Maidstone council.

Neighbourhood plans allow local communities to plan for issues that are locally important, such as community facilities and green spaces.

New food hygiene scheme

A new food hygiene scheme has been launched in Maidstone. The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme has been welcomed by switched-on pubs, clubs and food businesses as a way they can attract new business by highlighting their high standards of cleanliness and hygiene.

The scheme covers all food businesses that have a direct link with the public. This includes restaurants, pubs, cafes and take aways, but also schools, care homes, nurseries, corner shops, supermarkets and home caterers.

The new system allows the public to check the ratings of the places where they are planning to eat. By going on the national Food Hygiene Rating System website - - which is run by the Food Standards Agency, people will be able to see what score has been awarded to food businesses in Maidstone and across the country.

A new place for remembrance

Maidstone’s Vinters Park Crematorium celebrated its 50th anniversary with the opening of a new Book of Remembrance Hall. The hall was opened by Maidstone Borough Council Cabinet Member Cllr Marion Ring at an event for funeral directors in the area to mark the crematorium’s birthday. The crematorium is owned and managed by Maidstone Borough Council and opened in autumn 1962. Almost 84,000 cremations have taken place at the site since then.

The chapel and site remain largely the same as they were 50 years ago but modernisations and alterations have taken place both behind the scenes and within the grounds, including the extension to create the Book of Remembrance Hall which will house three books of remembrance. Mourners can now choose from a variety of memorials and there are eight different areas where ashes can be strewn, as well as burial sites for ashes at the crematorium and the Sutton Road cemetery. The crematorium now has a computer controlled sound system as well as an organ, meaning families get a greater choice of music at funeral services. An online booking service has been introduced for funeral directors, meaning families can be given peace of mind with a funeral booking made out of office hours. Cllr Marion Ring said: “The memorial areas and the new Book of Remembrance Hall are tranquil areas for remembrance and reflection. We are very proud of the staff at the crematorium and the facilities we provide.”

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